The Death of Psychotherapy: From Freud to Alien Abductions

The Death of Psychotherapy: From Freud to Alien Abductions

The Death of Psychotherapy: From Freud to Alien Abductions

The Death of Psychotherapy: From Freud to Alien Abductions


Psychologist-attorney Eisner puts psychotherapy on trial by critically examining its effectiveness through the lens of the scientific method. From psychoanalysis to cognitive-behavior therapy as well as the 500 or so other psychotherapies, there is not a single experimental study that supports the effectiveness of psychotherapy over a placebo or religious healing. Using both case examples and clinical research, this book challenges the conclusion that there is empirical support for the notion that psychotherapy is effective.


A fundamental assumption, which has become almost a cornerstone of American society, is that psychotherapy, however it is packaged and sold, is somehow good for us. Recent statistics indicate that upwards of half of the U.S. population, at some point in their lives, turn for help to a psychotherapist.

As a business enterprise, psychotherapy appears to be thriving. People have come to rely on it in their pursuit of comfort, good feelings, success, and happy outcomes. But is there any proof that these customers are getting what they pay for?

Several years ago, when I was first starting to voice this question out loud, I submitted a proposal to the American Psychological Association, suggesting that a mock trial be held at their annual meeting. The title for the event was to be "Psychology on trial: Can the profession survive and should it?" I had assembled a panel of prominent lawyers, sociologists, and psychologists. Our agenda was clear. We wanted psychotherapy examined and judged in the cold light of scientific evidence. Not surprisingly, the proposal was turned down: the "powers that be" were not willing to bring this issue under public scrutiny.

These same "powers that be" will not take kindly to Don Eisner's book for, in many ways, he has done what we had hoped to do, and he has done it well. Melding his extensive knowledge of psychotherapy, gleaned from his education and experience as a psychologist, with his training and skill as a lawyer, he has put psychotherapy on trial.

In The Death of Psychotherapy he has carefully and meticulously presented the evidence. Chapter by chapter, he looks at the popular varieties of psychotherapy and shows that, despite the claims and supportive studies, they . . .

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